Some days a melancholy washes over me. Often it’s because something makes me think of Wife, the life we shared, life before she died.
I have a bit of music in my collection. There are a lot of favorite songs in that collection, many of them from years ago. Back then I couldn’t afford to buy music and would wish that I had a copy of the recording. Over the last decade or two, there was more money to buy music and I got over the reluctance to spend on something frivolous but meaningful.
The recording by Bruce Hornsby and the Range, Mandolin Rain, causes me to respond. For some reason, this song came up in my playlist today. I was taken back 20, 30 years ago and remembered hearing this song the first time. It caused an emotional response in me then and still does.
Listen to the mandolin rain
Listen to the music on the lake
Listen to my heart break every time she runs away
Listen to the banjo wind
A sad song drifting low
Listen to the tears roll
Down my face as she turns to go
She didn’t have a choice about leaving. She had to go. And there are times when the tears still flow.
Last night, the Girl and I went on Walkies a little later than usual. The thermometer burst through 100F in the afternoon, for the first time since I’ve been back in Carson City. So, I didn’t want either of us out in the heat of the afternoon. But, once the sun fell low enough for there to be plenty of shade at the little quadrangle a couple of blocks from the hotel, I knew we could get out for a walk and a play.
So, I called her to me, put her collar back on, and we walked down to the rig to pick up her e-collar and the Chucker. We walked east and across Stewart Street (at great peril that vehicles won’t stop at the crosswalk) and into the fire station area and park. Drivers blow through that crosswalk regularly and that’ll get a citation (if law enforcement is around). I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands every time I cross there.
The Girl checked all the squirrel holes, just in case one was stupid enough to present a target. No joy. So, she trotted out into the grassy quad, eliminated, and greeted some of the other four-legged visitors also enjoying the cool grass.
A beautiful little “happy hippo” come over to say “hi.” But, she had her tail and head up and I so did my Girl. Pibbies! But, they did a little of the doggie-dance and started to play.
When they left, I noticed a rainbow forming to the east. I had an eye on a thunderstorm out east, but I thought it was a long way off. The radar image provided by my iPhone confirmed my assessment. Yet, there was this rainbow.
So the Girl and I moved around until the trees framed the sight and I could make a capture with my iPhone’s camera.
That done, it was playtime. Between chasing the ball and rolling in the cool, green grass, the Girl made happy sounds and happy body language. It was a good outing for both of us.
The Girl and I love to hike the Riverview Park path along the Carson River. The path starts near the Korean War Memorial in Carson City, proceeds along a constructed wetland (full of sweet-sounding birds), then along the river corridor. Recently, a bridge was added over the irrigation ditch that separates the park from the Empire Ranch Golf Course, so we have access to the perimeter road/trail outside the golf course.
The path leads all the way to Deer Run road and perhaps beyond. We’ve only walked to the river access at Morgan Mill. One morning I might choose to walk farther. But not today.
The Girl and I have a favorite park within walking distance of the Plaza Hotel. I love to take her over there in the late afternoon or early evening for a last-of-the-day run. Sometimes she’ll play with me. Sometimes she just wants to hunt the battalion of ground squirrels making burrows under the buildings.
It’s all good.
One evening, I noticed a rosebush with these beautiful yellow blooms. I had to make a capture and they reminded me of Texas.
The Girl and I sometimes walk in town in the evening. There is a park embedded in the area behind the local fire station. It’s posted (everywhere) with “State Property, Do Not Enter” signs, but the grounds are open for our four-legged friends.
This door caught my attention the other evening. I wonder what’s inside?
Two weeks ago today, I had the molar just forward of the wisdom tooth in my upper left jaw removed. During the treatment of the tooth (a root canal and crown was planned), the dentist discovered a crack through the base of the tooth.
“You have a failed tooth,” he pronounced. “It will have to be surgically removed and replaced. We can do an implant or a bridge.”
I elected the bridge given I’m not keen on implants (it takes a year to get one done). There wasn’t enough time to do the work while I was already anesthetized, so he scheduled for Thursday. Thursday morning the office manager called and he was sick. Friday morning she called and asked if I wanted to get the work done.
“Yes, let’s do this.” So I snagged a couple of things and headed to Gardnerville.
As I wrote two weeks ago, the procedure was not easy. The remaining portions of the tooth were fragile and brittle. But the surgery was done, the bone graft completed, and I left with a prescription for some good drugs.
The following morning I walked the Girl a bit. I was not my normal self. I didn’t feel right. I was weak.
At breakfast I was careful about eating on the right side of my mouth. But, somehow, I touched the site with the tine of a fork. I thought a number of things at that moment, the first being “How the Hell did I just do that?” That thought was followed by several others.
It didn’t hurt. I was surprised. But, I was equally surprised that a wave of nausea hit me. It was not like I was going to vomit, but I was very queasy — to the point I didn’t want to eat any more.
I broke out in a cold sweat, fast and hard. I was woozy.
Then everything in my field of vision turned gray — I mean everything went monochrome. The colors drained from my field of view.
“This can’t be good…”
My vision didn’t collapse into tunnel vision, but I felt very weak. I wanted to leave and get back to my room. But I was afraid to stand.
As I sat there, trying to keep myself steady, I think I fainted. I fainted sitting straight up and didn’t fall. I do not know how long I was out, probably a few seconds. But I was pleased I decided not to stand up.
I waited a few more minutes for my head to clear, then paid my bill and left.
I was sick for a week. I felt weak and was extremely careful when eating.
My follow-up visit was fine. Everything was healing according to plan.
Monday I went back for an inspection and for the sutures to be removed. My healing is good. I’ll go back in a couple of weeks for them to prepare the site and make the final impressions. Then this will be done. I’m thankful for that.
Tuesday I flew to Kansas City for a job interview. The Girl flew with me, for the first time, and she was perfect! I was so impressed how she handled the entire process. She did better than I!
I’m not sure whether I want the job or not. I’m not sure they will offer me the position. I’ll wait.
In the meantime, I had the chance to spend a few days with interesting people. I enjoyed that.
The weather was killer, with morning temperatures of about 80F. It was rough on the Girl, who likes her cool morning walks. She would give up on me about two miles in, hunting some shade and cool grass where she would crash, rolling around with her tongue lolling. It made me laugh. Then I’d encourage her a bit and we’d walk on.
I had the opportunity to make a few interesting images with my iPhone. I rather like the one I posted above.
We returned to Carson City yesterday. It’s good to be back home. I like it here.
I feel so much better today. I am healing up well and my strength has returned. I did the interview trip as I promised and that task is behind me. I have some work to do that will pay the bills.
I am blessed. I am happy. I am thankful. Life is good.
Although this posted Saturday morning about 0800, I wrote it Friday night about 1900 so my recollection of the day’s events, timing, and dialogue would not be lost.
It was Friday morning. The Girl and I had walked, not as far or hard as we have been. I felt like I needed a break to give my body time to heal a bit. We’ve been pushing the miles pretty hard, averaging a five-mile walk in the mornings and logging six miles or more every day for the last couple of weeks. We had both had breakfast.
I was just getting ready to start my monthly bookkeeping when my telephone rang. It was the dentist’s office manager. They had an opening and could get me in. “Do you want to come in this morning?” she asked.
It took me about two seconds to think. “Yes! Let’s get this done.”
So, at about 0900 the Girl and I scrambled into the 4Runner and headed south to Gardnerville. As I drove down there, I felt my fear and anxiety rise. I had a feeling this was not going to be an easy process. I was reminded of a favorite passage from the book The Golden Compass in which the girl asks her friend the armored bear “Aren’t you afraid?”
“No,” he replied, “but if I am, I will master my fear.”
I think my fear was more of the unknown nature of the process and not about pain. I knew the anesthetic would be effective in eliminating most, if not all pain. But I knew there would be a lot of pressure on my other teeth and my lips are always pinched between instruments and teeth. It doesn’t hurt badly, but there is a lot of it. (And that reminds me of the aphorism about being “nibbled to death by ducks.”) So, I took some deep breaths and reminded myself I could do this. It would be unpleasant for awhile, but then be over and the healing process would begin.
We got there about 0930 (it takes as long to drive through Minden as it does to drive from Carson City to Minden). I visited with the office manager for a minute and then they took me back to one of the stations. Many instruments were arrayed when I sat down. The assistant brought me a blanket for my legs (I get cold in there).
The dentist came into the room, looked over the images, and said “It’s time to get the healing process started.” He then administered the anesthetic and went on to work on another patient while the anesthetic took effect. He returned in a few minutes to administer the second phase of anesthetic and we talked about the bone graft he proposed. I asked a few questions and elected to have the bone added to the socket to protect the adjacent teeth and provide additional structural strength should I need it sometime in the future.
The process began about 1000, I think. It was one of the most unpleasant experiences I’ve ever had. The tooth was brittle and there were four roots, all of which were “spindly.” I could tell from his energy that it was a difficult extraction. He used a drill to cut up the remaining structure of the tooth (the upper part was already removed), then extracted two roots. The other two required a lot of effort to gain purchase. He had to use the drill again to make catch points for the instruments to get purchase of them.
There was not much pain, but a lot of pulling and pressure to work out the roots without breaking them. They finally were all extracted and a followup image proved the socket was clear. So the technician mixed the demineralized cadaver bone with some liquid so it could be injected into the socket. That process was straightforward and completed quickly.
This was followed by some sutures, which were challenging only because the tooth was so far back in my mouth. He nicked me a couple of times when removing the suture needle. I could have said something, but I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. With the sutures in place, we were basically done. The technician worked up the temporary bridge (to protect the site), singing quietly to herself as she worked.
That was very pleasant. She has no idea how calming that was to me.
During most of the process, I was so deeply into myself that I was only aware of direction, my breathing, and tension in my body. I forced myself to face the anxiety and to relax my body when I felt the fear and tension rise.
Finally, everything was done. I was released to the main office. I received direction on care of my wound, follow up appointments, and a prescription for pain medication. I had a feeling that there would be plenty of aching when the anesthetic dissipated. I paid my (huge) bill and walked out to the 4Runner.
The Girl was ecstatic to see me. She sniffed me all over, but kept coming back to my mouth. She knew I was wounded and wanted to care for me. I got her out to pee and then we drove back to Carson City. We stopped at Walmart to fill my prescription and pick up a couple of things I thought I might want/need. I have salt to make a rinse. I have some Reese’s Cups to reward myself and some protein shakes to provide sustenance until I feel like I can eat again.
We drove the remainder of the way to the hotel. I could feel the pain rising and knew I’d better get my pain medication started. So, we parked and I carried my things to my room. I took a pill and decided to walk across the street to the Black Bear Diner in the casino. I wanted a strawberry shake and some time to let the remaining tension bleed out.
On the way out, I stopped by the front desk to extend my stay another week. The sutures will come out in about ten days. The clerk worked on it a bit, but they were booked solid on the 15th, so she told me “I’ll fix this. Someone will call and cancel — it happens every day.” So the Girl and I walked across Carson Street and into the casino.
A young man greeted us at Black Bear Diner. “How many?”
“One… and a half,” I replied.
“Would you like a booth or a table?”
“Either is fine, so long as she is out of traffic.” We started into the dining room. The manager followed us and caught up.
“When someone has a service dog,” she said to the young man, “let them pick where they want to sit. They know where the best place is for their dog.”
I pointed to a table along a partition wall that was out of traffic, “This will be perfect.”
A beautiful young woman came by shortly after I settled the Girl next to the wall. She was mi mesera and asked how I was doing. I elected to spare her the description of the ordeal [grin] and then ordered a glass of water and a strawberry shake. They make excellent shakes at Black Bear Diner.
The manager dropped by a few minutes later. “Thank you for being patient with us. He’s in training and is learning how to handle customers with service dogs.”
“No worries,” I said. “I have learned to ask for something different if I think the seat is not the best for us. Booths are usually good because she’ll sleep under the table. But tables are fine too so long as we are out of traffic.”
The strawberry shake was very good. The cold felt good in my mouth. I needed the calories (if not the sugar). I elected to take a second pain pill because my mouth was really starting to hurt and I wanted to get ahead of the pain.
As I worked through my shake, the medication began its work. The pain didn’t go away, but was reduced to something tolerable. I decided I didn’t want anything else to eat. I will get some eggs Saturday morning. So I paid my bill and we walked back to the room. I took care of a few things that needed doing before I crashed.
I put on some music. Then I laid on the bed with the Girl. She snuggled close, curled up against my tummy. We both fell asleep.
I woke a bit later, checked the time, and took another pain pill. The hydrocodone works pretty well to both dull the pain and make me rest.
I learned a lot Friday. Or at least I feel like I learned a lot. I knew it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience. I was determined to get it done anyway. I didn’t want the infection to worsen and make additional problems. I’ll figure out the money.
Oh, I got a call from my hotel. The figured out a way to keep me in my room for two weeks if I want it. I need at least a week, maybe more. That makes me happy.
The image is unrelated. While at Walmart, I decided to buy a deck of cards. I love the Steampunk motif. I want a deck of cards in my kit. I don’t want to play games on the computer. Sometimes solitaire is a good thing, with real cards. There could come a time when Spades or Hearts might be appropriate as well. And if I’m with a friend, there’s always Gin Rummy.
Yesterday, the Girl and I were up really early to walk. She had a appointment with her veterinarian to have some lesions removed from her tummy. Because of her light skin, she is susceptible to skin cancer. Moreover, she’s my “sun baby,” and would choose to lie in the sun on her side and soak up that heat.
Because of our current lifestyle, she doesn’t do that anymore. We’re together all the time and often busy or driving. So she doesn’t have the same leisure time to ask to go outdoors and lie in the sun. But, she still has a few lesions popping up. Perhaps this year there will be fewer of them. I can hope.
So, after our walk, we drove back to the hotel so I could shower and gather up a few things. Then we headed for Minden and the vet’s office. I weighed her, signed in, and the staff put me in an examination room. Dr. Ross wanted to talk to me.
He looked her over and told me I could either wait or get a cup of coffee. He didn’t expect the procedure to take long (none of her spots were very big this time), so I left and decided to get a bite of breakfast.
For many years, Danny’s Diner (which was a Denny’s before I moved to Nevada) was a place I visited regularly, but not frequently. Wife and I loved to stop there when we were running errands for a bite. I just loved to spend such times with Wife. But Danny’s finally closed with the downturn in the economy (which hurt Nevada particularly badly) and I thought the facility would remain empty. But on my return to Nevada, I found a new place had opened.
So Thursday morning I drove from the vet’s to Independence Diner. It is really much like it was, but with a new menu and new staff. The staff are all friendly and the give-and-take between them bespeaks a friendly working environment. This is a good thing.
I ordered café con crema y agua, then repeated myself in ingles. I’m still practicing my Spanish daily, learning a bit each day, reinforcing past lessons as well. But, mi mesera no habla español, so we laughed about it and talked about Spanish. I ordered and worked in my bullet journal a bit while waiting for my food.
I chose poorly, I think. The chorizo omelette I ordered was just OK. I’ll have to try again, I suspect. And I will.
I drove back to the vet’s office to retrieve my Girl. (I don’t really think I own her; she’s not property.) I received instructions and walked my poor, groggy baby back to the rig. I lifted her into the backseat, thinking she would be more comfortable there. After trying to be up a bit, she melted into a pool of dog on the seat pan. She didn’t move all the way home.
I carried our stuff to the room and blocked open the door. After wriggling about a bit, I lifted her from the rig and carried her upstairs to her bed (my ratty old blanket). She didn’t move but went to sleep.
By evening she was more like herself. She doesn’t seem to be having much pain, for which I’m thankful. I gave her some food and her meds. Then we walked a little around the hotel and the park just across Stewart Street here in Carson City. We sat in the shade a long time, just taking in the outside time. She wanted to go chase squirrels, but I kept her on lead. She’s not ready to be rowdy and won’t be for a few more days.
Now I think it’s time to get out for a walk. She won’t walk off-lead this morning (and not for a few more days). But we both need exercise and outside air.
I’m thankful for her veterinarian. It was also good to see the little diner at the north end of Minden working again. It was a good day.